Israeli offensive in Rafah would lead to ‘massacres’, doctors warn UN — RT World News

Israeli offensive in Rafah would lead to ‘massacres’, doctors warn UN — RT World News

Medical charity workers have cautioned that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza could become “apocalyptic”

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza will turn “inestimably worse” if Israel launches its planned ground offensive against Hamas fighters holed up at the southern end of the Palestinian enclave, Western doctors have warned. 

More than 1 million civilians, many reportedly starving, have taken refuge in the area after earlier Israeli attacks leveled their neighborhoods.

“This is probably the worst crisis that can happen within this war,” Dr. Zaher Sahloul, co-founder of the US-based MedGlobal medical charity, told reporters on Tuesday at the UN headquarters in New York. “If there is any offensive, they’re going to have a bloodbath, massacres after massacres.”

He added that his colleagues who are still working in Gaza have warned that an Israeli assault on Rafah could lead to 250,000 deaths.

Sahloul was among a group of Western doctors who traveled to Washington this week for meetings with US lawmakers and government officials to bring more attention to the desperate humanitarian conditions brought on by the Israel-Hamas war.

The doctors made their pleas for a ceasefire – and to call off the planned Rafah offensive – after doing volunteer work in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

“I saw the most appalling atrocities, and I saw things that I never would have expected to have seen in any health care setting,” said Dr. Nick Maynard, a UK surgeon who has worked in the Palestinian territories for more than a decade. I saw things at Al-Aqsa [Martyrs] Hospital which I still wake up at night thinking about – appalling injuries, particularly in women and children.”

Maynard gave the example of a young girl who was burned so badly that he could see her facial bones. “We knew there was no chance of her surviving that,” he said. “But there was no morphine to give her, so not only was she inevitably going to die, but she would die in agony.” The girl was left on the floor of the emergency room to die.

Dr. Amber Alayyan, a Texas pediatrician who does volunteer work through Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF), said supply shortages have forced physicians in Gaza to make horrific choices, such as having to perform amputations without anesthetic. There are no beds available for many of the post-operative patients, and the condition of injured Gazans is deteriorating as their wounds rot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed international pressure to cancel the Rafah operation, insisting that it must go forward to prevent Hamas from again posing a threat to West Jerusalem. The latest war erupted when Hamas fighters raided southern Israeli villages on October 7, killing over 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza.

The Israeli response has left more than 31,000 Gazans dead, according to local health authorities, and has displaced an estimated 85% of the besieged enclave’s population. The Israeli military has claimed that civilians will be moved to “humanitarian islands” to the north of Rafah before the ground offensive begins.

“There is nowhere safe for them to go,” said Maynard, who argued that Israeli forces aim to “eradicate” the Palestinians from Gaza. “What is going on in Gaza fulfills every single definition of genocide that I have read.” The surgeon added, “If there’s an invasion, a ground invasion of Rafah, it will be apocalyptic, really, the number of deaths we’re going to see.”

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